New album may give rappers a fight for the top of the charts

Vanessa A. Munoz, Opinions Editor

There’s a certain sense of depth when it comes to Kendrick Lamar’s new album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which released a week earlier than thought in March. No doubt Kendrick Lamar has rhythmical talent that goes beyond the typical rapper these days, and in his new album he and his band, along with collaborations with other rappers make this album a hip-hop success that will be incomparable in the future to come.

In his sophomore album, Kendrick goes beyond the streets and brings up his thoughts on what is going on in society showing off his rhyming, free talk, and poetry skills. From the Trayvon murder case to the riots in Ferguson, Kendrick makes it apparent that this album is not to be taken lightly.

He brings up murder, racism, unity, government, and of course, love and women. Mostly this album calls for all black people to unite and stay strong. A few of these empowering tracks are “Alright,” “U,” “The Blacker the Berry,” “Institutionalized,” “I,” and “Hood Politics.”

The album starts out with “Wesley’s Theory” talking about the financial struggle that the black community faces and how new and inspired upcoming rappers lose track once they get money. The next track “For Free?” has a little humor to it and can be seen as a dispute between him and a gold digging girlfriend, or it can be seen as a protest against being used by the government.

Many of the tracks have a good beat to them and some have an old school twist to it by including an old hip-hop melody that makes you feel like it’s the ‘90s all over again. A few of the tracks have a jazzy flow that gives a vibe of a coffee house that’s hosting a poetry open mic night with Kendrick sharing his deepest thoughts and concerns especially on his track “U.”

A feeling of depression almost comes over you as you listen to his song “Hood Politics.” This track screams his frustrations about the work he put in for his people and neighborhood but now calls them all boo-boo. At the end of the track, he states how his thoughts drove him crazy while feeling depressed about it all in a hotel room.

“Institutionalized” goes on about how his mind is still in the hood. This track features Bilal, Anna Wise, and Snoop Dogg. The entire song is about admitting to the struggle of being down for who you were and who you are now and how your mind can stay institutionalized in the hood. Every day is a struggle to come up in life and that sense of a struggle never leaves you. The feel good track of the album isI” which makes you start moving and wanting to dance. You get this sense of “feelin’ yourself” as they say, the song is positive and talks about loving yourself and feeling empowered.

The best song on the album has to be his track “Alright,” which goes deep on his views of the social problems in society that prey on the black community in America. Kendrick includes a tongue-twisting rhyme explaining how the black community is going to be all right and how the police and government want to see them dead. The beat makes it easy to follow along in the rhymes, which makes the track more intense.

In his song “Complexion (A Zulu Love)” he openly admits to loving all complexions of women and that being this open gives him more options to look at. Rapper Rapsody gives the track a woman’s perspective on the love for all complexions admitting her admiration to those of any color and that we’re all beautiful kings and queens.

In almost every track, Kendrick shares parts of a common verse that goes like this, “I remember you was conflicted misusing your influence, sometimes I did the same, abusing my power, full of resentment, resentment that turned into a deep depression, found myself screaming in a hotel room, I didn’t want to self-destruct, the evils that lose you was all around me, so I went running for answers”.

“To Pimp a Butterfly” is one of hip-hop’s best albums, and is a refreshing change from the gangster rap that’s been plaguing the media lately. This album goes beyond any genre or rap style. It’s inspirational, influential, and empowering.